Intergenerational living is no longer limited to sharing a home with multiple generations of family members. In the United States and Canada, people are adopting a new housing model that aims to help Baby Boomers with extra space in their homes connect with people from younger generations who need affordable housing.
Pairing up older homeowners with students and young professionals just starting out is a simple idea that has far-reaching benefits for both parties. Many older homeowners appreciate the opportunity to experience the world through the eyes of millennials, and the young adults are able to live in affordable, safe homes that also help to keep them connected to the community.
Intergenerational Living Goes Mobile
To help facilitate this new type of matchmaking, websites and mobile apps are cropping up to make the process faster, easier and safer for everyone involved. One of the most popular apps, Nesterly, is the one that arguably stirred up the sudden interest in Airbnb-style intergenerational living arrangements.
Nesterly goes beyond just matching young people with older households. It helps to connect older people who may need basic assistance with running a home to younger people like students who are willing to do small tasks like grocery shopping, tech support or helping to care for a pet in exchange for lower housing fees.
Apps like the Boston-based Nesterly also take a lot of the guesswork and potential for miscommunication out of the equation. All users, both renters and homeowners, go through a screening process for safety, and rent payments are set up through an automated payment system for ease and security. A home-sharing agreement is made by both parties before the renter’s stay begins so that each person has clearly defined expectations and a basis of good, open communication.
Canada is Picking Up the Intergenerational Housing Idea
While there aren’t currently a lot of intergenerational mobile apps, the good news is that provincial governments have seen the success of the app and are hoping to bring the idea into Canada. In Toronto, a pilot program is underway to help match seniors with young people in need of housing with the hope of improving the overall quality of life for both parties.
Another business called the Homeshare Alliance is helping to match people according to their compatibility. Homeshare Alliance guides both parties through the process of reaching an agreement.
Intergenerational living may not be for everyone, but for many seniors and young adults who are struggling alone, it’s a creative and unique way to solve a problem while creating a more tightly knit community.